God and the Creative Imagination

'Among contemporary theological voices, that of Paul Avis is always wideranging, constructive and sane, combining scholarship with a nuanced feel for tradition. This book covers the central questions in the philosophy of religious language in a way that is digestible and fresh.'

Rowan Williams, Bishop of Monmouth

'This is a book of scholarship and integrity. A unique combination of theology and literary methodology.'

R.William Franklin, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale

'God and the Creative Imagination is an extremely well written and carefully researched study of the place of metaphor, symbol and myth in religion and theology. I read this with considerable enjoyment.'

Robert Hannaford, University College Chichester

In God and the Creative Imagination, Paul Avis argues that metaphor, symbol and myth are the keys to a real knowledge of God and the sacred. Avis explores what he calls an 'alternative tradition', stemming from the Romantic poets Blake, Wordsworth and Keats, and drawing on the thought of Coleridge and Newman.

In his illuminating discussion, Avis shows us that Christianity lives from the imagination, that divine revelation is both given and received in imaginative modes, that theology requires imaginative insight, and that belief is a form of aesthetic perception.

Drawing on a range of non-theological disciplines, including literary theory, anthropology and philosophy of science, Avis clarifies the nature of metaphor, symbol and myth, and develops a critical, symbolic and mythic realism on the premise that God is appropriately likened to an artist or poet and that the greatest truths are expressed in imaginative form. This book challenges theological conservatives and liberals alike as it develops a realist, cognitive theology of the imagination.

Anyone wishing to further their understanding of God, belief and the imagination will find this an inspirational work.

Paul Avis is General Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England, Sub Dean of Exeter Cathedral and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Christian Church. He is also the author or editor of numerous books, including Faith in the Fires of Criticism and Divine Revelation.

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